I live in the mountains, in a small but busy town. All the photos used as feature images in my blog are taken by me from this beautiful place in the world. The photo for this post was taken one dawn after a night of stargazing with my best friend. Occasionally this summer we would walk the ten minutes to the lake near my house once the sun had set and the last of its light had seeped from the sky. We would lay down on the dock, stare up at the stars, listen to some relaxed music and chat. We saw shooting stars, satellites, planets and so many millions of stars. There’s nothing more amazing than stargazing in a place with little light pollution. It’s a pretty special experience to share with a friend as well. A few hours from the nearest city, and away from the light sources of our town, there’s so much you can see when you look at the sky during the dark. I recommend it to anyone even if it’s just on the occasional camping trip away from the city. There’s few things more magical than laying in the open air and staring at the universe above us.
One observation I had from our star gazing nights this summer was that around two or three in the morning all of the remaining light from the sun had drained from the sky. The darkness of the sky was at its darkest. And the brightness in the sky, the stars and planets, were at their brightest. This was the most spectacular time of night. This was the time when the tiniest details of our universe were evident. And in this is a really poignant (and maybe cliched) analogy. At the time in my life when things seemed their darkest, I was overwhelmingly grateful for the smallest acts of kindness. I was incredibly thankful for all the amazing positives I had in my life.
After I was assaulted I found it really hard to talk to people, to tell them what had happened. It was my self defence mechanism. It was a way of blotting out what had happened. But it’s a far from perfect mechanism and can stand in the way of your healing process. I was encouraged by a close friend who knew my story, to tell another of our close friends. The first friend could tell that although our other friend was young she had had life experiences that made her an incredible friend in situations like this. She had unfortunately experienced similar things to me in her past, and maybe as a result, had an amazing capacity for empathy. One drunken night we both sat on some stairs that were away from the bar we’d been drinking at and cried and told our stories, hugged and bonded in a way that alcohol can facilitate. I told her all the details of that night that I could bear to tell, including the seemingly inconsequential detail of my lost necklace. It helped me take down my self-defense mechanism and in the process I got one step closer to healing. A few days after that night I experienced one of those amazingly bright stars shining in the darkness of my experience. My newly informed friend brought me a card with a necklace inside the envelope. The necklace wasn’t expensive but it was something that I would wear. It wasn’t the present that had the most impact, it was the words she wrote. The card simply said “here’s a necklace to replace the one that was taken from you”. The words “taken from you” were perfect for the situation and gave me a sense of overwhelming gratitude. She truly understood and this gesture was nothing but thoughtful. I learned at that point that when the night seems it’s darkest you can experience the brightest stars you’ve ever seen. I gained a truly deep connection with a friend out of one of my darkest experiences.